Sunday, October 7, 2012

We're all cousins Part 3

As I wrote recently, my grandmother used to say about her family and my grandfather's family that "we're all cousins." Both of their families were establishment New England families who had known each other and inter-married. I've used a picture of Edie and her Thacher cousins for this post. Edie didn't know the exact relationships, but I have been able to establish at least three crossovers between Edie's family tree and Duke's. They are both descended from Priscilla Mullins and John Alden, John Sherman and Martha Palmer and Edward Winship and Elizabeth Parke. There may be other connections as well.

When I started looking into my wife's family, I didn't have any idea that we would also be cousins. But I figured out that, in fact, we are. First I found a crossover between my family tree and hers in the Middle Ages. Quickly thereafter, I determined that her family was one of those early establishment New England families as well and that we're both descended from Mayflower passengers Richard Warren and Elizabeth Walker

Though it seemed similarly unlikely, I have always wondered if I would find a crossover between my Mom's family and my Dad's. I knew a lot about my Dad's family tree, but my Mom's has been a work in progress for the past several years, and as far as I knew they were Midwestern farmers or New York Dutch (to coin a term). I had a breakthrough recently, though, as I found the Foote family, so I've been tracking that family back through its Massachusetts history. Not surprisingly, the further I went back, the closer to a crossover I came, until finally this week I discovered Elizabeth Wheeler (Breed) along the Foote line. The name Wheeler was familiar to me immediately, so I continued up her family tree to her parents, Thomas Wheeler and Rebecca Sayre. I already had them in my family tree file as one of my Grandma Edie's ancestors through their son Timothy Wheeler. Eureka!

I counted back the generations and Timothy and Rebecca were eleven generations back from my Dad and thirteen generations back from my Mom. So that would make my parents tenth cousins, twice removed! I don't know what the mathematical likelihood of these connections is, but that's a subject for another post. Not as unlikely as we often think.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Finding the Coonradts

I recently went back to link to my research into the Coonradt family and I realized that I wasn't satisfied with what I had originally written. To remedy that, I'm going to do a recap.

So, it started way back when I first asked my Grandpa Conrad about his family tree. He told me that the family name hadn't always been Conrad. It used to be "Koonradt" he said and that it had been changed to Conrad when the family came west to Iowa. Over the years I had looked for this name online but never found anything to connect to my family.

At some point in 2009 I got onto one of my regular genealogy kicks and I was looking at new sites. I believe I was newly on and I started searching on variants of Koonradt. When I did, this Coonradt page came up at a different site, Naturally, I followed the links at the bottom which promised more detail on the Coonradt family tree. Did they ever deliver! A treasure trove of Coonradt family names. Naturally, I read through all the names on each page to see if any looked familiar. I paid particular attention whenever a Harry or Henry came up since I knew my great great grandfather had been Harry Conrad.

Under the Willhelm Coonradt family, I found the following grouping:
F.3. Daniel Coonradt, b.1830 Grafton N.Y., CIVIL WAR.
G.1. Edgar Coonradt, Moved to Iowa where he raised a large family. (History incomplete)
G.2. Harry Coonradt, (No history)
G.3. Clarence Coonradt, Harkimer, N.Y.

It was so lucky that someone knew enough about this family to know that the boy named Edgar had gone to Iowa. More on Edgar later. But the other details all seemed like a good start - I knew my great great grandfather Harry Conrad had to have been born around 1860 and it seemed likely that his father was born in 1830.

So I went off to Quickly, I want to tout and what they've done with the US Census records. There you can very quickly find the relevant record using their search function and then look at the actual handwritten census document. Extraordinary! So try it with Daniel Coonradt, born 1830 and you'll find the same thing I did: in the 1860 federal census, this family appears in Luzerne, Pennsylvania:
Daniel H Coonradt, age 30
Cordalia Coonradt, 26
Clarence Coonradt, 5
Edna Coonradt, 3
Hendrick Coonradt, 1

This family certainly looks pretty close, other than the location. Always look at these census records carefully, though. On the second page, it lists the individual's place of birth. For Daniel Coonradt: New York. Exactly the same age, same place of birth and with at least one son with the same name. I wasn't concerned about Edna being missing because I'd noticed that the Coonradt page included very few female names. And Hendrick/Harry - a nickname? Seemed pretty likely.

Two other records also come up in the search results on Ancestry: two civil war records, one for Daniel Coonradt from New York, and one for Daniel H Coonradt of Pennsylvania.

So the next things to check on was to follow this family in the census records and see where they turn up next. Daniel doesn't appear in any of the other census records after 1860. What about Cordalia? So type "Cordalia Coonradt" into the search engine at for my next revelation. You'll find if you look through all the search results a pension record for Daniel H Coonradt where the dependent is listed as Cordelia Coonradt. Underneath her name is the name "Bailey, C.S." with the notation "Gdn" - I took this to mean "guardian". Below in the detail, it lists two dates of application: February 26, 1866 on the line "widow" and December 18, 1867 on the line "minor". Sadly, now we know why Daniel doesn't appear in the 1870 census - he died in the war.

But what about this Hendrick Coonradt? I started on with Hendrick Coonradt and then Harry Coonradt but quickly became frustrated. I couldn't find either one matching the family I'd found above. However, if you search on "Harry Coonradt born around 1860" the records for Harry Conrad out in Iowa start popping up pretty quickly, matching up with the information my grandfather had given me - lived in Waterloo, Iowa, wife named Grace, etc. That's my Harry Conrad, all right.

At some point I left Ancestry and entered "Hendrick Coonradt" into Google. You have to use all the resources at your disposal, after all. Lo and behold, the following page came up in the search results: It's a listing of children at a Civil War soldier's orphanage. You find not only Hendrick Coonradt, born in 1859, but also Edgar C. Coonradt, born in 1861. Blammo!! Can you hear all the pieces falling into place? Hendrick and his younger brother Edgar were "orphans" - young children whose mother had just lost her husband in the war.

I made two other connections through The first was Dave Young, who is a Coonradt descendant on another line. After I told him some of what I'd discovered, Dave said that all of this sounded right, and that I should compare notes with another descendant named Dick Conrad. Dick is the great grandson of Charles E Conrad. As it turned out, Hendrick Coonradt wasn't the only member of the family to change names upon coming west. His brother also made the change, from Edgar Charles Coonradt to Charles Edgar Conrad. Not only did he give me this information, Dick also had a letter from Harry to brother Charles in 1914. I have transcribed that letter here. The letter doesn't contain any revelations, but it does tie the family together nicely, including Cordelia's remarriage to Charles Rosengrant and the two half-brothers that Hendrick and Edgar grew up with. Following these folks through the subsequent census records was a project that occupied me for several days.

Dick also sent me the portrait of Daniel Coonradt in his Civil War uniform that you see above.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The People I Met in My Genealogy Research, Part 3

Harry Conrad AKA Hendrick Coonradt

My grandfather’s story is probably all too common in genealogy research. Grandpa was born Leighton Clay Conrad, but he always told us that the name Conrad was an Americanization of what he understood to be a German name, Koonradt. That’s the spelling I remember him telling me, anyway. The way I remember it, he told us that the Koonradts had come to the Midwest through Pennsylvania, which might suggest that they were Pennsylvania Dutch. In any case, Grandpa didn’t know how far back the name had changed. When he helped me fill out my first family tree, he could remember back only two generations, through his father Leo and grandfather Harry. I still hope to one day research the Conrads further back from Harry, but I know it will be difficult since they lived in the rural Midwest, whereas I live in California. Some day… (see below for update!)

Grandpa’s other side is even more interesting and even more clouded with mystery. Apparently, Grandpa’s mother Daisy Murray had kept a secret throughout her entire life – she was half Indian. Grandpa’s twin brother Harlan discovered this fact only after Daisy had died. From there, the story gets muddled and garbled by distance and poor communication. As you might remember me mentioning earlier, Grandpa didn’t get along too well with his twin brother, at least by the time I came along. And whatever information Harlan had only came to me secondhand through Grandpa, so there isn’t much there and I’m not real sure of any of it.

Grandpa was sure of one thing, his Indian ancestry had been from what he called the Iroquois tribe. According to Grandpa, his grandmother, Louisa, whose maiden name I do not know (see update below), was a full Indian and her ancestors had come across North America through Canada past the Great Lakes and then down into Iowa. Which of the five tribes of the Iroquois did we come from? I don’t know. Where did they live? What were their Indian names? Don’t know, don’t know. My mom suspects that her Uncle Harlan probably had quite a bit more information, but he’s long since died and she hasn’t had any contact with his family since she was a kid. Such is genealogy research. I hope to find Harlan’s progeny one day and compare notes.

Unlike his mother, Grandpa was extremely proud of his Indian heritage once he was aware of it. He often sent part of his small Social Security income to Indian charities back in the Midwest. I have often wondered if his remembrance of the information on his Indian heritage was a colorful exaggeration, as many of his stories seemed to be over the years. But I’ve got little else to go on for his family tree, so I hope his stories are at least partly true. I know that finding a trace of Louisa will be a difficult task. It’s probably a job for more of a professional historian, but if I get the chance I’ll do the best I can.

If nothing else, I’m glad to be aware of my own Indian heritage, as small a percentage of my makeup as it may be. Now I find that my own daughter has what some call the mark of the Indians – two blue spots on her bottom (also known as “Mongolian Spots”). Of course, these spots originate on her mother’s side but I still look at them with pride, our shared Indian background.

Update, as of 2009: I have made some great headway on this part of the family tree. I found the Koonradts that Grandpa had told me about, but it was actually spelled "Coonradt". The change came when young father Daniel Coonradt was killed in the Civil War, leaving behind three sons. Two of those sons came west to Iowa, taking on different names along the way - Hendrick Coonradt (pictured above) became Harry Conrad and Edgar Coonradt became Charles Edgar Conrad. The pictures I have online of Daniel Coonradt and Harry Conrad both come from Charles' descendant Dick Conrad, another great friend that I've met over the internet through genealogy. In fact, I haven't updated my Rootsweb family tree with this information, only my Ancestry one. I'll try to do that before too long to make sure everyone has access to this information.

I also have new information on the Murray side of the family, where I have filled in one additional generation of Murrays and a couple more generations of Louisa's family, who turned out to be named Thoroman (or Thoroughman). I have yet to locate the Indian background however, nor have I made contact with any of Harlan's descendants. I am fairly certain that the Indian background is not on the Thoroman side since this family is well documented. It would be more consistent for it to be the Murrays, who came to America from the Montreal area. Intriguingly Montreal is part of Iroquois country, and Joseph Murray, Daisy's grandfather is listed at times as fur trader. Though my cousin Scott Conrad and I have both researched these families, so far neither of us has found convincing evidence of the Indian story. Something for later, I hope. if you have an account there: family tree starting place

If that doesn't work for you, start at Rootsweb here: Starting place #2. For more detail, click on "Display pedigree in text format".

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Obituary of John Wiley Edmands

J Wiley Edmands or John Wiley Edmands

Found among my grandfather's belongings was a typewritten summary of several tributes and remembrances of my 3X great grandfather, John Wiley Edmands. I am sure that some of these writings were published but I haven't determined where yet. I will credit them if/when I determine where they were published.

This one is simply titled “Obituary”:

The Hon. J. Wiley Edmands died of heart disease at four o’clock yesterday morning at his home in Newton. The diseases which finally proved fatal had troubled him for many years, and that his life should close in this way has been expected. He was born in this city March 1, 1809 (his father, of the firm of Lincoln & Edmands, being one of the leading booksellers of the city), was educated at the grammar school, and entered the English high school when it was founded in 1821. After graduating from school he entered the employ of A. & A. Lawrence, and his marked business capacity brought him into the full confidence of the senior member of the firm, Amos Lawrence. He was gradually promoted, till 1830, when he was made a member of the firm, and soon became the real guide of its policy. In 1843 he retired from the firm, and for several years afterward, was interested in the Maverick woolen mills in Dedham. In the fall election of 1852 he was elected to Congress, and served for the term from March 4, 1853, to 1855, declining a reelection. He was not politically ambitious, and preferred his business to all political offices. Such offices as he accepted were not gained by any self-seeking. He was a member of the whig party at the time he went to Washington. A fellow-member of the Massachusetts delegation was the Hon. Samuel H. Walley. Mr. Edmands was often mentioned by his friends for the prominent political positions, but the only one he accepted was that of the Presidential elector from the seventh congressional district for the election of 1868.

Mr. Edmands became treasurer of the Pacific mills of Lawrence in 1855, and has occupied that position ever since. It was here that he made the reputation which has placed him foremost among the business men of New England and has given the Pacific mills so favorable a name in this country and abroad. He was associated with other gentlemen of foresight and sagacity, and it was here that he became most widely known. At the outbreak of the civil war in 1861 Mr. Edmands was an active worker. He gave his time, influence and money to the support of the government, and has been a strong republican ever since the organization of the party. He was prominently mentioned for Secretary of the Treasury for President Lincoln's cabinet.

Mr. Edmands had wide business relations, and was connected with many financial institutions. He was a director in the Arkwright Mutual Fire Insurance Company, of the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance Company and of the Suffolk Bank, and was vice-president of the Provident Institution for Savings. He was for some time director of the Ogdensburg Railroad, and had been the treasurer. He was also treasurer of the Eye and Ear Infirmary. From his well-known ability and cordial, sympathizing nature his advice was frequently sought in business matters, and he was ever ready to be helpful. Within a few years he had suffered from business reverses.

He was a benefactor of the city of Newton, where he lived, his most important gift being that for the Newton free library, ten thousand dollars for the building and five thousand dollars for books. He was married early in life to Miss Rebecca A. Cushing, daughter of Joseph Cushing of Baltimore. She and his eight sons all survive him. The funeral will take place in Newton on Saturday.

This second one is titled "J. Wiley Edmands":

We have to record the death of one of our community whose tremendous activities could be aptly compared to those of a mighty Corliss engine, and whose extinction was as sudden as the arrest of the engine in the midst of its most efficient work. If mind could ever be compared with matter the simile might be made still closer, for Mr. Edmands was the moving power of the most colossal of the manufacturing establishments of New England. But the power of the engine ceased with the failure of the fuel which drives it, while the power of the great human motors lasts for all time.

There is no need to speak of the ability displayed by Mr. Edmands in the more immediate sphere of his duty as the treasurer and, according to the New England custom, the responsible head of the Pacific mills; or of the financial and manufacturing skill which enabled him to bring an establishment that had sunk almost into hopeless bankruptcy to its present position of unequalled success - our proudest example of industrial and administrative achievement. But few can have an adequate conception of the intellectual strain required to keep in discipline an industrial army of over four thousand persons; of the nervous exhaustion incident to making personally, and on his sole responsibility, the thousands and tens of thousands of bargains involved in purchasing the seven or eight million dollars' worth of raw materials required f the annual supply of his mill; of the command of will which could decide instantly on a purchase of a million dollars, and could reject or accept, with hardly a moment's apparent thought, a hundred commercial offers in a day. This was Mr. Edmands's daily work, occupying hardly more than four concentrated hours, which were still so elastic as to leave room for consultation on friendly or public questions. Vast as was this work, upon which we need dwell no further, it was but part of the work which gave him his fully recognized position as first among the business men of our city. His influence was predominant in the banking, insurance and trust companies with which he was connected, for he had the rare combination of mastery of the details and a comprehension of the general principles of business. The broad scope of his intellect was manifested in his rare intelligence upon the economical questions which he at the foundation of national development. A cadet of the famous house of A. & A. Lawrence, subsequently a partner, and still later executor, of Mr. Abbott Lawrence, he was the direct descendant and representative of the illustrious school, the Lowells, Appletons, Jacksons, Lawrence, who laid the foundation of New England's prosperity, and made Boston what it is - the headquarters of a vast manufacturing industry - the man who inspired Webster and gave Henry Clay his arguments for an American system. He partook of the sentiments of the New England school of national economy, as compared with the more ultra Pennsylvania school; being moderate and conservative in his views of protection, and believing that the least protective duties should be imposed which would suffice to make our national industry independent. His position fo several recent years as president of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers brought his knowledge and judgment in economical questions into direct requisition and enabled him to exert a powerful influence upon national legislation. It is through his advocacy of equal protection to the agricultural and manufacturing interests that his name is as well known in the West as in New England.

Mr. Edmands was not less known for the part which he has always taken in national and political questions. He was a member of Congress for one term only, having declined a reelection and many subsequent offers of nomination. But in his brief term of office he was distinguished as a member of financial committees. Still maintaining his interest in national questions, it is probable that no other person in New England, out of office, has been so much consulted by the New England republican senators and representatives in Congress. He was president of the first great convention, that at Boston, which nominated General Grant for the Presidency, and was one of the Presidential electors. He was prominently mentioned by influential business men as Secretary of the Treasury in President Grant's first administration, and subsequently by leading men of the West for the position of minister to England, - in both cases without his knowledge. The republican party has suffered the loss of one whose counsels were always wise, and whose devotion to it both in time and money was inspired only by patriotism.

We can but allude to Mr. Edmands's services in institutions of the public charity or education. The same devotion which he gave to his mill he gave without price to one of the most admirable of our charities - the Eye and Ear Infirmary - of which he was from its foundation the treasurer and business manager, through his financial skill and the generous and unpaid services of its surgeons, relieving as many as seven thousand patients in a year. Of the public library in Newton he was the principal benefactor, and to the humble orphan school of his village the most generous giver of what was more valuable to him and them than money, his precious time.
How much he valued knowledge is shown by his address at the anniversary of the Boston high school, and address whose sentiments and style have been often referred to as the best illustration of the education which the Boston common schools can give.

The most social of men, Mr. Edmands shunned fashionable society. His delight was to close his busy day under the shade of the trees which his own hand had planted at his country-seat at Newton, which Downing might have envied; to pay his regular daily visit to his aged mother, who lived near him; to fill his accustomed place in the church where he worshipped; to be a kind neighbor and good citizen, and, above all, to drink from the cup of domestic happiness which Providence had filled for him to the brim.

We cannot point to the leading business man of our community who has just passed away as a monument of personal financial success, for the devotion to the interests of others in his keeping left little time for his own, but we can point to the most precious of possessions, an unspotted name and an example of devotion almost heroic to business and public trusts.

Monday, September 3, 2012

How Far We've Come

James Foote Jeffers or James F Jeffers

My topic for this week is families that have moved away or changed a lot from where and who they used to be. I traveled down this track via my mom's family tree. Maybe it's just my impression from my grandfather's stories, but my sense was that his family was made up of "Pennsylvania Dutch" immigrant farmer stock. Well that was only partly true even of the Conrad/Coonradt line that gave him his name. They had been Americans since the late 1600's and had actually lived in New York for most of their time in the U.S. Only the last Coonradt, Daniel ever lived in Pennsylvania, and he only lived there for a few years before he was killed in the Civil War.

The other names on Grandpa's family tree don't sound German at all. Instead, they are the descendants of English settlers, with names like Greene, Bailey, Jeffers and Foote. These families certainly were rural folks when they came into contact with the Conrad/Coonradts, but their origins are actually the same stock as my Dad's - New England Colonial settlers. I haven't found a crossover yet between these families and my Dad's, but I won't be surprised when I do.

One of these families sparked my interest, the Foote family, in particular, Christiana (or Christina) Foote and her son James Foote Jeffers (pictured above). The Foote family in general is great because they can trace their history back to the 1500's, (see the Foote Family). That was my initial find. But then I was thinking, how did these folks end up out in Iowa? Christiana was born in far Western Massachusetts in a little town called New Ashford. Even today the town only has about 250 people. She was born in 1772, just before the Revolution. In fact, both her father James Foote and her father-in-law, Robert Jeffers fought in the Revolutionary War. So think of her as being part of that generation. By the time she has her children starting in 1790, she has moved to central New York between Rochester and Syracuse. She lived in very small towns, Seneca Falls, and Rose.

Christiana's last surviving child was James F Jeffers, born in 1814. He was born, like all his brothers and sisters in rural upstate New York. He gets married and has his first several children in Rose, New York. However, by 1851 we find his entire family out in Lockport, Illinois. Despite his already large family, James has three more children that are born in Lockport. Lockport is an interesting place because it was the headquarters of the Illinois and Michigan Canal which was completed in... 1848. It's not hard to imagine that James and his very large family came west to Illinois based on the promise of economic good times. Interestingly, his siblings also spread to the wind as well, with three ending up in Wisconsin, and two others in Michigan. Times must not have been so great in New York.

James and his family didn't stay in Illinois, though. By 1858, when his daughter Amanda (my ancestor) is married, they're out in Iowa, near Waterloo. And in 1862, the 48 year-old James, who must have had at least five children at home still, enlists in the Union Army from the state of Iowa. I don't know how long he served, but imagine that - both his grandfathers fought in the Revolutionary War and here he is fighting in the Civil War. He and his family must have been comfortable out in Iowa because they settled in, and James died in very rural Douglas in 1890. And Iowa is where James's granddaughter Grace Greene would ultimate meet and marry Harry Conrad (who has a fascinating adventure story of his own).

I can't say I know exactly why all these moves happened when they did, but I think I understand a little bit of what brought these folks West, a trend that continued with my grandfather, Leighton Conrad, coming out to California in the 1920's and my Mom and Dad moving us north in the early 70's.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Danes in the Salem Witch Trials

One of my birthday presents was the historical fiction novel 'The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane' by Katherine Howe which I'm now almost finished with. Despite the familiar last name, I was not aware that Deliverance Dane was a real person, but she was. As it turns out, I already had her in my own family tree files but didn't realize it until after I received the book.

I did know that one of my direct ancestors, John Dane, was one of the jurors in the Salem Witch trials, and I had a general sense that we had relatives who were accused as well but didn't know any of the specifics. This book got me started looking into the family history in the trials and I was able to find a great deal more just from searches on the internet.

The first Danes to arrive in New England were John Dane and his wife Frances Bowyer and their three grown children John, Francis, and Elizabeth. The Danes all lived in Andover and Ipswich, towns near Salem, north of Boston.

1. John Dane = Frances Bowyer
-- 2. Elizabeth Dane (later Howe or How)
-- 2. Dr. John Dane
-- 2. Revd. Francis Dane (Named but never officially accused or charged)

What struck me when I was researching all this is that once a family was accused, the entire household was typically either accused or actually charged. This was particularly true for the Reverend Francis Dane. He was the pastor at Andover for over 40 years and by 1692 he was 76 years old. He had a long-running dispute with the town because a younger pastor was brought in in 1682 and the two were splitting the typical salary of the town reverend. Two of his daughters and his daughter-in-law (Deliverance) were accused of witchcraft.

-- 2. Revd. Francis Dane = Elizabeth Ingalls
---- 3. Hannah Dane
---- 3. Elizabeth Dane (Johnson) - Found Not Guilty
---- 3. Phoebe Dane
---- 3. Abigail Dane (Faulkner) - Found Guilty, not executed because she was pregnant, later pardoned
---- 3. Nathaniel Dane = Deliverance Hazeltine - Accused
---- 3. Francis Dane

Following the theme, the children of these accused women were also arrested:
---- 3. Elizabeth Dane (Johnson) = Stephen Johnson
------ 4. Elizabeth Johnson (age 22) - Found Guilty/Pardoned
------ 4. Stephen Johnson (age 14) - Indicted/Not Tried
------ 4. Abigail Johnson (age 11) - Accused

---- 3. Abigail Dane (Faulkner) = Francis Faulkner
------ 4. Dorothy Faulkner (age 10) - Released on Bond
------ 4. Abigail Faulkner (age 8) - Released on Bond

I'm going to include a spoiler here regarding Deliverance and her family. In case you were unclear, Katherine Howe's novel is fiction and clearly the events in the book for Deliverance and her family and the names of the various players directly involved with her are composites. If you think finding out what really happened to Deliverance and her family will ruin the book for you, stop reading here.

Okay, for those still with me, the real-life Deliverance and Nathaniel actually had seven children, five of them born prior to 1692. In the book, they only have one. In any case, I haven't found any records indicating that they were involved in the trials. Deliverance's own story (like in the book) is obscured from the records and it's unclear whether she was ever arrested. She wasn't executed. She had two children after 1692 and lived until 1735.

Another family member wasn't so lucky, though. Revd. Francis's nephew James Howe's wife Elizabeth was one of the 20 people executed. Her granddaughter also accused along with several other family members (not mentioned here).
-- 2. Elizabeth Dane (Howe) = James Howe
---- 3. James Howe Jr. = Elizabeth Jackson (Howe) - Guilty/Executed
---- 3. Sarah Howe (Bridges) = John Bridges
------ 4. Sarah Bridges (age 20) - Not Guilty

By the way, in her bio, Katherine Howe indicates that she is a descendant of the unfortunate Elizabeth Jackson Howe, which means that she is also a Dane descendant.

Not to be forgotten is Dr. John Dane, whose son, John Jr. (my direct ancestor) was one of the jurors in at least one of the trials and signed a document several years later that apologized for their part in the trials. It is known that John Jr. was involved in the trial of Rebecca Nurse, but may have been involved in others as well.
-- 2. Dr. John Dane = Eleanor Clark
---- 3. John Dane - Juror / Declaration of Regret

There are several other connections to this family by marriage as well, particularly the families of Revd. Francis Dane's wife Elizabeth Ingalls. It's all quite remarkable. For more information on these other family connections, there's a great post on the message boards by fellow Dane descendant Walter Crean (which I borrowed from, thank you Walter). A great deal of my recent research involved taking various internet sources and comparing against the Wikipedia entry for People Involved in the Salem Witch Trials, a great resource which I encourage you to use if you want to read more about those involved. When I get a chance, I am going to try to detail the other family connections. I will post here when I do.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

We're all cousins part 2

I'm happy to announce that the nearest common ancestors between myself and my wife has moved up some 500 years! I've now been able to trace both of our family trees back to Mayflower passengers Richard Warren and Elizabeth Walker.

This couple was impressive... in terms of descendants, that is. They had seven children, all of whom survived the challenging early years of the Plymouth colony, lived to adulthood, married and had children of their own. In a very real sense, Richard Warren and Elizabeth Walker are the "father and mother of our country".

Here's how the trees trace down to us:

Richard Warren/Elizabeth Walker => Nathaniel Warren => Alice Warren => Abigail Gibbs => Silas Swift => Abigail Swift => Peter Thacher => Thomas A Thacher => William L Thacher => Edith Thacher => Francis S Dane III => Kyle Dane

Richard Warren/Elizabeth Walker => Anna Warren => Patience Little => Thomas Jones => Jonathan Jones => Elizabeth Jones => Jonathan Pond => Elbridge G Pond => William H Pond => Hazel Irene Pond => Carol Robertson => Raquel Montoya

Only 11 generations! Isn't that something?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

We're all cousins

"We're all cousins" is something my grandmother said to me regarding her family and my grandfather's family. Both families were long-time New Englanders who could trace their ancestry back to colonial times, so this was literally true, though she didn't know what the exact connection was. I think they were probably fifth or sixth cousins, so not exactly what we today would call "kissing cousins".

Still, I've found over the years in my genealogy research that the general sentiment that we're all related is true. So for years I've been researching to see if my family and my wife's family were also related. And I think I've finally found the connection. It's way, way back, of course. As far back as a fellow by the name of Alberic the Second, who was Duke of Dammartin in the late 12th century. According to the genealogies I've found online, he is one of the ancestors of one Henry Adams, one of the first colonists to the early United States. Henry, in addition to being the Great Great Grandfather of President John Adams, was also the Great Grandfather of one Hannah Adams, who is one of my wife Raquel's ancestors through the Pond family.

But back to Alberic. He was certainly a very important person, as his Granddaughter Joan de Dammartin was the Queen of Castile. Their progeny included Eleanor of Castile, better known as the Queen of England alongside her legendary husband Edward I of England (you might know of him as "Longshanks" who Mel Gibson fought against in the movie "Braveheart"). Online I have found several documented connections of my family to King Edward and the Plantagenet family. This is my connection, as I know I'm descended from Edward, and his son and grandson, Edward II and Edward III.

Alberic's progeny also included one John of Gournai (there are various spellings of Gournai). John's daughter Elizabeth married a country lord named John ap Adam,_1st_Baron_Ap-Adam in the early 1300's. These folks seem to be the wellspring of the entire Adams clan. Interestingly, there is another connection which I found that suggests that John of Gournai was William the Conqueror's great great grandson, but apparently that is historically in dispute. Interesting how much trouble people will go through to document or disprove royal lineages. I definitely am descended from William, as his lineage also passes through Edward and the Plantagenets. Anyway, I'll keep digging because I'm sure this won't be the last crossover I find between my wife's family tree and mine. I'm sure I'll find a royal connection for her as well, perhaps along one of these same lines.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Francis S. Dane, Jr., Welcomed Home at Community Reception

This article about my grandfather is from the Lexington Minute-man, May 23, 1935:

"Francis S. Dane, Jr., Welcomed Home at Community Reception
Presented a Watch from Many Friends and Key to the Town.  More than 800 at Happy Meeting in Cary Memorial Hall.  Introduces His Dog and Speaks Most Entertainingly.

The town opened its arms last Friday evening welcome home from his two years in the Antarctic, its own representative, Francis S. Dane, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Francis S. Dane of Bennington road.

Some 800 men, women and children assembled in Cary Memorial Hall on that evening for one of the pleasantest community gatherings that the town has enjoyed for many a long day.  If there was any doubt but what the town was glad to see Dane back safe and sound, it was dissipated when a continued burst of applause greeted him upon his entrance on the platform, and the meeting was a decided success from the moment that infectious and friendly smile, that is always associated with Dane, greeted the audience. 

The stage was attractively decorated with apple blossoms, and at the back, the High School Band under Directory Withington was stationed.  These young musicians gave a splendid concert before the arrival of the guest of honor, and during the reception that followed the speeches.  They contributed heavily to the success off the occasion.

Boy Scouts under their Scoutmaster aided in seating the audience and keeping the lines at the reception.

Mr. Thomas S. Gringle, president of the Rotary Club, which initiated the whole idea, was a Master of Ceremonies and opened the program, explaining the pleasure it gave his friends to see Dane home again from his unusual exploit.

Chairman Charles E. Ferguson of the Board of Selectmen was the first speaker and gave the greetings of the officials of the town.  He spoke of the honor to the town of having a member on this epoch-making Byrd Expedition and told Dane that the town was his.  To prove it in concrete form he presented Dane with a huge wooden key to the town.  This he admitted unlocked nothing but that was because nothing was locked to him.  The key was made from wood from an historic elm tree that stood on the Battle Green.

Mr. Grindle then introduced Mr. Edwin B. Worthen who was most happy in his remarks.  He remarked upon the splendid background that Dane enjoyed and called attention to the warm place in the hearts of the townspeople that the whole family enjoyed.  He expressed regret that Dane had returned without a full grown beard for he said he always associated a beard with returning explorers.  Worthen then presented Dane with a beautiful gold watch, the gift of his many friends in the town.  This was given by no group or club but by old and young from all sections of the town.

Then Francis (for he is still Francis to most of us) spoke in a most ingraciating and simple manner.  He admitted the fuss that was being made over him was too much.  He wanted to go and he went and he had had a good time.  He paid tribute to Admiral Byrd in a heartfelt manner and spoke feelingly of the splendid comradeship of the entire personnel of the expedition.

He told of some of his own work with the dogs and the difficulties and pleasures of his experiences with them.  Of great interest to all present was his introduction of his own lead-dog "Pinoock" that had been with him from start to finish and was to remain with him.  It was a splendid specimen and seemed to enjoy the attention he was receiving. 

Dane introduced two of his companions on the expedition who were present, Mr. F. Alton Wade, one of the scientists and Mr. Stuart Paine, a dog driver and they were both given a hearty round of applause.

At the conclusion of the speeches, the entire audience greeted Dane personally, coming singly to the front of the hall and shaking his hand and receiving a personal word and that infectious smile.  In the receiving group also were Mr. and Mrs. Francis S. Dane and their two other children, Miss Marcia and Nathan.

It is too early to state Dane's plans, but for the present at least he will be busy with work for the expedition.  He has much work to do in the disposing of and settling the dogs brought back of which there were more than a hundred.

The whole affair was a high spot in the community life of the town, happily conceived and excellently carried out."

This photo accompanied the article with the caption below:
Admiral Byrd Antarctic Expedition II 1933-1935, Dog Driver Team, including Francis S. Duke Dane
Group of Byrd Expedition Dog Drivers.  Dane on Extreme Left

Friday, March 16, 2012

Francis S Dane Succumbs Here

Francis Smith Dane I
Francis S Dane I

Obituary for my great grandfather, Francis S Dane (the first) from the Lexington Minute-Man, December 24, 1964:
"Francis S Dane Succumbs here

The community was saddened to learn of the death at his home, Monday, of Francis Smith Dane, 90, of 43 Highland Avenue, active in the community affairs here for the past half century.

Mr. Dane was well known for his many activities which included among other things active participation in the Boy Scouts and the Red Cross. Prior to his retirement 20 years ago, he was assistant treasurer of the Hood Rubber Co., now B. F. Goodrich Co in Watertown.

He was born in Kennebunk, Maine, and came to Lexington in 1903. He immediately immersed himself in civic affairs. He served as a member of the town's finance committee prior to the 1920s. Long active with the Boy Scouts, he served as troop committee man for troop 22 and was the examiner for the entire Scout Council on bird lore. Much of his interest centered around birding. He was curator and an honorary member of the Lexington Historical Society, and served for ten years as treasurer of the Lexington Chapter of the Red Cross.

He was graduate of Bowdoin College, class of 1896. He had been a Senior Warden of the Church of Our Redeemer. Years ago he was tennis champion with Lester T. Redman of the Old Belfry Club.

He leaves his wife, Mrs. Annie L. (Edmands) Dane; a daughter Miss. Marcia W. A. Dane of Lexington and two sons, Frans S. Jr. of Pasadena, Calif., and Prof. Nathan Dane II of Brunswick, Me., and seven grandchildren.

Private funeral services were to be held Tuesday in Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Interment will be in Kennebunk, Maine."

Francis Smith Dane I in the 1880's
Francis Smith Dane I as a Boy, 1880's

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Power of the Internet: Mystery Portrait Identified

So, as some of you know, I have this unbelievable family tree book from the Dane, Edmands and related families that is in my possession. How I received this book and where it comes from is a subject for another story, but I wanted to discuss here one individual portrait from the book.

Mystery Woman Now Identified as Anne Hichborn (or Hitchborn, Hichborne)
Mystery Woman?

Fortunately, almost all the pictures in the book are either labeled with a name, or are placed right next to someone's record and thus also labeled. Unfortunately, this one wasn't, perhaps because it was so large. Anyway, in my attempt to identify her, there were three possible candidates. One was the person whose name was right next to the picture, albeit poking through a "window" onto a previous page, Marcia Winter. The second was one of the Hichborn (alternately spelled Hichborne and Hitchborn) women, since the picture was pasted at the bottom of the Hichborn page. The third was Dolly Dutch, since I had a photo on a previous page of Dolly in an almost identical costume.

I posted a copy of this photo in my Flickr archive for the genealogy book, and I also uploaded a copy to, but under the name Marcia Winter. In the description of the photo at Ancestry, I clearly stated that I was unsure who the person was and that it was a mystery I'd like to solve.

Several months went by and then recently, I received a message posted through that automatically came to my email inbox, too (I'm going to leave the woman's name out in case she doesn't want it posted here). The message said, "I think I can help you with the identification of the portrait you think is possibly Marcia Winter. We have the original portrait, and it's one of a pair." In her next email, she sent me this photo, which she'd taken of the portrait that sits in her home:
Anne Hichborn - in Color
Anne Hichborn (Jameson) - in Color!

Clearly, they are one and the same and just as clearly my pasted black and white photo was actually a photo of this painted portrait. Fantastic! But not only that, the portrait had a pair, and using the pair, we were able to convince ourselves that in fact the woman in the picture must be Anne Hichborn, because of the pairing with Captain Samuel Jameson. Both our histories matched that the two were married. I had no photos or other pictures of Captain Sam, but she did, and here it is:
Captain Samuel Jameson
Captain Samuel Jameson

So not only did I find a photo of an ancestor I'd never seen before, I have a new destination on my family history tour. I hope to some day go and visit these portraits in person!